Monday, 5 January 2009

Kyoto - Guys in a City*

Continued from Kyoto - Pre-departure Preparation.

We left for Kyoto the following day -- Saturday the 27th -- taking the train up to Okayama (a four hour journey) and then the expensive, but fast, Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train) over to Kyoto.

Lugging our way to our hostel, the Tour Club, seemed like an arduous task at the time. But as the week wore on, we realised just how short a distance it was between the station and there -- or there and the station; however you want to see it.

Tour Club Accomodation
Tour Club, Kyoto

We had okonomiyaki for dinner that evening. We returned to the same place a few days later. Good food.

Off to a geisen (videogames arcade), where Joseph sought to be pummelled by businessmen and schoolkids -- a little disappointingly, perhaps, only one suited gentleman jumped at the chance to put a silly foreigner in his place with Street Fighter IV. The endeavour to pursue martial challenges continued throughout our week. We often had fun in the arcades, even if facing each other wasn't nearly as exciting as having some young punk strut his stuff and show us why white boys shouldn't play fighting games.

Sunday saw us head over to Starbucks, near the station, to procure breakfast. Two things to note here: we realised that we were all pretty low on cash -- me, more than anyone; and Japan is a very cash oriented society, so although the brothers each had credit / debit cards, they were really no good most of the time.

Still, we survived a week in Kyoto on dwindling funds. In fact, I think Mikey and I arrived in Kubokawa with less than 100 yen between us.

So, Sunday. We bussed to the Sanjuusangendo Temple before heading to Kiyomizu Temple, later checking out the surrounding marketplace.

Outside Gateway


That afternoon, after a nice lunch at a cafe, we took the train to Tofukuji, a suburb of Kyoto, and sought out the Nintendo building.

Nintendo Building
This is where the magic happens

We chilled at the hostel upon our return. In fact, most of our days ended mid-afternoon and were comprised of either sleeping or sitting around playing games. I played Final Fantasy III on my DSi most days. Yeah, eight days was much too long -- especially considering that a lot of sites were closed for the New Year period. :(

We spent most of our evenings wandering around the city, however. Sunday night was no exception, it being our first real night there. That evening we browsed game and book stores, just wandering aimlessly from dark alley to hidden porn caches. I kid. It wasn't Akihabara, but it seems that there can't be a Japanese bookstore without it's very own pornography section. Ich.

Upon our evening return, we all sat down together to watch our first movie for Kyoto, Ghost in the Shell.

Next up, the New Year's week begins.


* The title of this post is a play on words. If you say the first two words with a Japanese accent it is very close to "gaijin", which means foreigner. Therefore, it doubles as "Gaijin, a city". Which is exactly what we were: gaijin gawking at granite. Or as Joe would have put it: a bunch of crackers cracking their heads. O.O

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